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A Race Up the Palmetto

Nicholas Jester

Looking into the South Carolina senate race

Even for y’all who ain’t from the United States, it’s hard to not know of what’ll happen on November 3rd. Whether it’s scrolling through social media or accidentally listening to the news, the presidential election between incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and the Democratic nominee Joe Biden is probably familiar to you. Less known, however, are the many other elections happening throughout the country on November 3rd as well.

 

A reasonable claim can be made as to why these elections aren’t as well known: consistency in presidential voting history per state. The fact that North Dakota has voted Republican since 1968 gives us a strong suggestion as to what the smaller, state-wide elections will result in. Another one of these “consistent” states is South Carolina, having last voted Democratic in 1976. Nonetheless, this year may prove different in the Palmetto State. And I don’t mean the presidential election -  Trump is still higher on the polls and most likely will remain in said position, but looking at the senate race tells a different story.

 

Incumbent Republican Senator Lindsay Graham has been in office for three, six-year terms and is looking for a fourth. Democrats in South Carolina haven’t won a state-wide election since 2006, and if one were to look at this data, along with the consistency the state has in presidential voting, it would seem Graham’s fourth term should come relatively uncontested. But, during a year of turmoil, views have shifted and opinions have changed, and this is made clear with the success of the Democratic nominee for Senate, Jaime Harrison.

Jamie Harrison would be the first Democratic African American to be a Senator in South Carolina. Tim Scott is an African American Senator in the state, but a member of the Republican Party.

 

Harrison filed to challenge the incumbent early last year, and as of September 21st of this year, he’s only one point behind in net polling results when compared to Graham. Graham has also recently admitted on a Fox News interview that he’s “getting killed financially” by his opponent. Harrison raised over $10.6 million in the month of August alone for his election campaign. Graham raised just over $8 million three months.

 

With the election date nearing and the poll gap between the two runners fluctuating, will the Republicans maintain their consistency, or will the Palmetto State have a Democratic Senator for the first time since 2004?